This argument is about onions. The proper way
to cook them. The shadow of my father, standing
over my shoulder, a dark heft, the abused child
turned to a man: belittled, cowed, gaslit,
instructed to ignore his own father assaulting
his mother in front of the three siblings. In the kitchen
he tells me I am doing it all wrong. Wait!
Until the pan is hot. My metal spoon grinds silently
against the scarred non-stick under accusations,
instruction, his advice speaking to onions
as it says other things. You need to spread
them out, he says, not steam them in a heap
or they won’t properly caramelize. Like I even
care. Like I even care about getting the correct
coating of sugar on this fine white tissue, this fragile
transparent skin burning now to wizened char.
Lauren Carter is the author of four books: two novels and two poetry collections. Her most recent novel, This Has Nothing To Do With You, won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction. Her fifth book – short story collection Places Like These – will be published by Book*hug in 2023.